Parents experienced a mix of emotions when their children returned to schools and centres at the end of Alert Level 3. There was relief at the resumption of some sort of normality, but there was also anxiety. For the parents of young children in particular, there was concern about how tamariki would re-transition into early childhood education.
Two kindergartens share their stories of transition with AKO.
Karanga Mai Early Learning Centre in Kaiapoi, north of Christchurch, is located on the grounds of Kaiapoi High School. A suspected case at the high school meant they had to go into lockdown two days before the rest of the country. Tumuaki of the centre, Jacinta McInerney, talks to Sara Shirazi about how they’re supporting the specific needs of their community.
The importance of whānau and community doesn’t lessen just because a child starts school, but it can be hard for educators to maintain these strong connections once a child leaves early childhood education. Jane Blaikie and Jane Arthur talk to educators across the country about the challenges they face when trying to build bridges between the child and their community.
Children do not exist in isolation; their lives are embedded in families, communities and societies. Nested within these communities are the schools and early childhood education (ECE) services children attend. When I was a child, my experience was of little interaction between schools and their communities. Looking back, this seems due to the culture of practice within schools, more than the school gates. In the intervening years, writers like Bronfenbrenner1 have drawn our attention to the complex influences of environments – both immediate and more remote – on development and the value of creating meaningful reciprocal connections between the different groups and settings that children are part of. Today we see attention to the role of communities reflected in our curriculum documents. “Family and Community/Whānau Tangata” is one of the principles of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, along with the expectation that each ECE service will use the curriculum “as a basis for weaving with children, parents and whānau its own local curriculum of valued learning, taking into consideration also the aspirations and learning priorities of hapū, iwi and community”. For kura and schools, Te Marautanga notes that for learners to succeed, the school, the home, hapū, iwi and community